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Utah's Foremost Platform for Undergraduate Research Presentation
2022 Abstracts

The Impact of the Novel Coronavirus on the Brain

Presenter: Emily Taylor
Authors: Emily Taylor
Faculty Advisor: Claudia Jorgenson
Institution: Utah Valley University

The first infections of SARS-CoV-2 were reported in late 2019. Soon thereafter, the COVID-19 pandemic changed everybody’s lives forever. Specifically, the COVID-pandemic impacted nearly every individual’s life through the disruption of work/home balance and disrupted social connections. COVID-19, while being a respiratory virus, has been found to act quite differently from other respiratory viruses. More recently, researchers have discovered that COVID-19 appears to also affect the central nervous system, specifically the brain. Several studies have focused on these alarming neurological consequences of SARS-CoV-2 infection, which, in turn, can affect an individual’s day to day to life. These changes include the disruption of a person’s ability to smell and taste, a reduction of grey matter in certain brain areas, as well as blockage of cranial blood flow. Surprisingly, there has not been a systematic review on these various neurological impacts. This review will investigate the effects of COVID-19 on the brain specifically focusing on the impact on olfaction, gustation, blood flow, and gray matter volume.